It's not waste; it's energy

Former Massachusetts environmental secretary and U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Region 1 Administrator John P. DeVillars wrote an op-ed published in the Boston Globe today that discussed the importance of removing the Massachusetts DEP's moratorium on new waste-to-energy capacity.  DeVillars recognizes that waste-to-energy facilities "add in-state capacity so that we can end the practice of burying our waste in someone else’s backyard [and] advance recycling by diverting recyclable wastes from their facilities to recycling centers. And because every ton of trash that we turn into energy is the equivalent of using one less barrel of oil or one-quarter ton less coal, generating energy from waste can contribute to addressing the global challenge of climate change."

ERC Highlights Worker Health & Safety

The Energy Recovery Council has published a new Fact Sheet on Electrical Safety and Injuries.  This fact sheet was developed under the auspices of the the Alliance Agreement between the Energy Recovery Council and the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). The Fact Sheet will raise awareness of the risks of high voltage electrical shock, review how workers can protect themselves during high voltage electrical work, and summarize how proper medical treatment can be provided in an expedient and effective way for any worker injured by this type of hazard. While this Fact Sheet has been provided for members of the Energy Recovery Council (ERC), all industries and personnel who might encounter the effects of a high voltage electrical shock can benefit from the details of this Fact Sheet.

Columbia University Professor: "Don't Trash Waste-to-Energy"

Columbia University Professor Nickolas Themelis wrote an excellent op-ed entitled “Don’t Trash Waste-to-Energy” which was published in the Cape Cod Times.  His piece highlights the irrational attitude of some environmentalists who say if you ban landfills and incinerators, people will reduce, recycle and compost their way to zero waste.  Themelis argues that Massachusetts must lift its moratorium on new waste-to-energy capacity rather than succumbing to the "misguided opposition...of "environmental" groups."

Westchester Celebrates 25 years of Waste-to-Energy

The Westchester waste-to-energy facility in Peekskill, NY marked its 25th anniversary in operation this week. The Journal News asserts that there is nothing glamorous about the trash-to-energy plant, but its construction did solve one of the most monumental problems in county history - how to dispose of hundreds of thousands of tons of household and commercial garbage in a safe, environmental way. The facility was opened on Oct. 21, 1984, at Charles Point in Peekskill under a contract by Wheelabrator. The steam produced in the burning process generates enough electricity daily to cover the needs of some 40,000 residents served by Con Edison.  This article provides an excellent case study on how a community decided that waste-to-energy was the best way to manage their trash.

G.W. University Uses WTE to Reduce Greenhouse Gases

According to the GW Hatchet, George Washington University plans to send 3,500 tons of trash to a waste-to-energy plant this year in hopes of eliminating the University's solid waste carbon emissions. The 3,500 tons of waste produced each year at the Foggy Bottom and Mount Vernon campuses will be converted into 1,800 megawatt hours of electricity, generating enough power to run 100 homes for an entire year, officials said this week. "By switching to waste-to-energy (WTE), our greenhouse gas emissions for solid waste will be reduced to zero," said Nancy Giammatteo, director of Planning and Environmental Management.  The disposal and conversion program started on Oct. 5.  The new initiative is part of the University's proposal to lessen overall greenhouse gas emissions as part of the obligation to the American College and University President's Climate Commitment and GW's climate action plan. The WTE project will have a "large impact on the current dialogue and the next generation of leaders," said Meghan Chapple-Brown, Director of GWU’s Office of Sustainability.